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Improper recycling can cost the city time and money.

Supervisor of waste diversion with the City of Winnipeg Mark Kinsley says recycling is an interesting and challenging industry, and acceptable recyclables can differ from municipality to municipality.

Kinsley says the number one rule for recycling that he tells people is get familiar with what recyclables are acceptable here.

"Winnipeg is designed -- whether it's your 4R Winnipeg Depot, (or) your blue cart or blue bin program -- there's a specific design of acceptable items... and anything outside that list just contaminates it."

Kinsley says the triangle stamp on a product doesn't necessarily mean the item is recyclable in a particular market. He says the number associated with the triangle tells consumers the type of plastics and chemicals that are in the product. You can find Winnipeg's list of acceptable recyclables on the city's website.

"Winnipeg's (acceptable list) is a little bit different than Toronto's, is a little bit different than Calgary's, as you go across Canada and the world for that matter."

Kinsley says unacceptable items can cause issues and slow things down, which creates a ripple effect.

"There's a lot of mechanical systems, which are -- they're rotating -- so bags get wrapped around there, clothes and that stuff can build up so much that they actually have to stop (the machines), and these facilities are designed to run so much through per hour, so any time that you have to stop it really affects the ability for that system to run efficiently."

Kinsley says you don't need to sort your recycling, as we have a single stream system here, but he does ask people not to mix items (for example, putting aluminum cans back into their cardboard container). He says that makes it more of a challenge on their end.

He says whether you should wash items before putting them in recycling is an interesting question.

"We just ask that they're completely empty... As soon as you say, 'yeah, rinse them out,' somebody says, 'well, geez, I'm using a lot of water.' So I try and say, you know, peanut butter and mayonaisse are perfect examples: get your spatula out, clean them out, and then if you've got some rinse water already, like, that you've used, then go ahead and do that. But pouring water out of the tap for every one, that's far on the spectrum I guess."brady bunkersEverything has its place at the Brady Road 4R depot.

Kinsley says we've come a long way here when it comes to recycling, but there's still a lot going in the garbage that shouldn't be. He says the 4R depot system now in place has made the biggest difference, saying there's improvement across the board, including in safety and efficiency.

4R depots aren't only for recycling. They accept a variety of "divertables," including electronic waste, tires, rubble and masonry, scrap metal, and much more.

Of the city's three 4R depots, only the Brady Road 4R depot accepts garbage. Kinsley says the reason behind that is promoting waste diversion.